No HouseWork Day

There are something’s akinned to Chinese torture.. Endless… repetitive and monotonous one of them is house work. The clean becomes soiled, the soiled is cleaned over and over again, dust-bunnies seem to invade the minute you take a shut eye. It is kind of like growing up never finished.

April 7th is that utopia day of #NoHouseworkDay, I put in the twitter status and went right back to making breakfast, maybe I should have called few friends and we should gone out for coffee, well instead, I am serving left-overs and finishing my outdoor work.

This holiday was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy, at Wellcat.com; you are permitted to do anything this day except doing house work. It feels good when the reason not do house work is legit.  Initially it was the National No Housework Day at Uncle Sam’s Land, now it has gone worldwide.

I was wondering how I could celebrate it

Maybe trade places, I lie in bed and get MrD to do all the housework…maybe book a slot at Relooking for a head massage. Maybe head to this club with a wonderful library and great coffee and camp for the day… no still better I plan to ignore the sunken sink, the grimy floor, and damp laundry, at the end of the day, if the item does not multiply, smell, catch fire or block the refrigerator door, turn a blind eye, apparently no one else cares, so why should you?

Happy No HouseWork day…

Shopping-Wise

saturday night market (4)Yup, I am talking economy of emotions, finance, and a feeling of empowerment.

I am just recuperating from listening to a whining session of how things are expensive, how her then separated now deceased husband has left her stranded, honestly I find it difficult to be considerate here, if your bank balance is 1000/- you need to buy food, and I don’t see the logic in blowing up 750/- for inner wear. Maybe I am being insensitive here, but I think it is essential stop playing victim and equip ourselves to face the situation.

The choice of Jaywalking to the mall or creating peace is with us. it is great to Declutter homes and lives.

My mom worked on a monthly budget, while grandma worked on a weekly one,  the menu would be roughly drawn for the month. Now that my mom is seventy-two and sometimes does not like going out to shop, I do it online with her, again have just tweaked her rules,

  • Plan your meals, before going to the grocery store, she is particular even online we use grocery store only… I do cheat and peak at amazon.in or homeshoppe18.in, but by and large we go to Bigbasket.com or other grocery store.
  • Clean the refrigerator and check stock before making your list.
  • Shop with a shopping list, this is kind of the best financial friend. It produces focused shoppers and stops us from mindless browsing which eats into our time.
  • To compare prices, the catalogs and internet pop-ups render me cold, so I shut them all down and stick to two shops. Bigbasket and Amazon
  • There is no question of lugging kids, to the online market, that is one respite.
  • Discounts and sales do not really count if the purchase is made on credit card, as the interest rate eats up the saving. So any shopping, particularly books and artefacts, or electronic gadgets here is what I dosaturday night market (1)
    • Do I need your?
    • Do i love you?
    • Do I have a place for you?
    • How long before I fling you?
    • Do I have another one of you?
  • If cash on delivery option is available I use the cash on delivery option as it allows me to account for it immediately, if I do use debit card I do an entry immediately.
  • I do a boogie fling before hitting the purchase button. No matter how enticing the offer I do not buy it unless I really need it. I use an online control journal, and I note the receipt immediately so I know how much I have spent.

I have also slotted a day in the week when I do the shopping, for non grocery, like clothes, or electronics, or books. The grocery shopping once a month, two lists one for my mother and one for me.zense (2)

When it comes to major purchases we do look up user reviews, but again the information available is too vast. www.aspectwise.in is an interesting place to check out when you are buying electronic goods, you could actually go to the website and check it out. I tried choosing a mobile and it did work quite well. AspectWise also allows you to compare restaurants, hotels, home electronics.

Happy shopping stay economically healthy and empowered.

 

Walking Through An Open Plan House.

kunjur house 1
Traditional coastal house

Our friend Jairam Acharya, who is an astrologer at Parkala; (he is also the in-house astrologer for ETV and runs a shows with them.) Built a house at Percale, his nephew from Bombay had been every upset that Mamaji did have a big house, with lot of rooms but no bathrooms. Now we were a little amused because each room had an attached bath. For the little kid who came Bombay and was used to cloister spaces the large bathroom appeared like a room with an open bathing/toilet area.

Coming to think of it, before architects and architecture became a fad, the houses on the coast were built with lot of consideration, like the low slant roofing, with  a wooden false roof, that would have a particular leaf laid on it, I forgotten which one this kept the rooms cool.

Flooring was red, slate again it kept the floor cool.

kunjur house 2
inner courtyard

Plan of the house was also very interesting usually a square  and one entered the house through the Heggilu, , on one side of the hebbaligu would be the Bhavikatte or the well where one could wash the feet before entering the house.

The other areas were

Jagali – or open corridor, but it would be roofed usual pattern was open central courtyard that had medicinal plants, the tulasi, the space for the kids to play, to dry the food it was open and unroofed. Then was level one walking space of course roofed but it  was usually treated like a corridor to walk through it was not a personal space, then came the jagali with pillars and that would be the living space.

open plan house 1
My dream house

The Jagali near the Hebbagilu usually served as the official space where outsiders , officials  would interact.   Any food or drink to be served there would be impersonal and served by the service staff.

Rest of the jagali’s were open and people walked in and out, this is  lack of being cloistered is probably what makes the woman from southern India more social and less oppressed than her northern counterpart.  The farm hands, the domestic help came to this courtyard so did the younger women seeking the wisdom of the older ladies, young men who had to be advised  it was a more personal space,

Most houses had an easy-chair, and an arm chair not to mention a desk. In this space.

open house 1
GoodEarth Pattern Malhar

Parallel to this was the padsale (the nomenclature could be wrong it is ages since I used these) which was enclosed a place of privacy where people changed, after a bath the cupboards would be kept here; it was the place where newlyweds slept.

Then there was the bananthikone or a nearly dark room where someone who had just give birth would be housed. The Kottige, the Hatti these were various spaces.

The feel was we were part of nature, and the vast universe the feeling is amazing. Unfortunately we never appreciated it then.

Somewhere in 1950-60 I think compartmentalized home became a common theme, I remember some traditional homes  redesigning stuff, the standard, central hall, dinning bed room one and two to the left, kitchen and master bedroom to the right became the staple. 1980 brought the concept of rooms flowing into one another.

goodearth malar
pattern Malhar

Suddenly I see the re-emergence of the multi-utility spaces, https://housing.com  in a newsletter from only they call it open-plan homes now. Incidentally Goodearth (: www.goodearth.org.in ) is introducing Malhar patterns an eco-village with open-plan housing, if I were to evaluate those homes, to the compartmentalized flat I live in today,

  • On one hand I can visually connect living spaces in decor and aesthetics a great thing for a visual artist like me, but it is a war zone, since my family leaves a trail of destruction in every room they touch.
  • There are areas to hang art work, particularly the appliqué screen work I do, put plants to create spaces, but having to decide how much to keep and what to keep is a challenge.
  • When we grew up we would be left in the central courtyard a great place for us to play, it was open and lot of people keeping an eye, without mothers having to micro manage. Open plan houses replicate this space. A safe play area for kids within the parent’s vision without intruding.
  • Since the spaces were open we had lot of natural light, and breeze, we did not really bother with lighting the lamps or turning on the lights until late in the evening. At Malhar Patterns they have brought out this effect by doing away with non-load bearing walls.
  • The nicest part of those old homes was the kitchen view and the eating area, since the kitchen opened into the Jamal we sat at the jagli to eat and grandma would be cooking and conversing with us those who finished eating would throw away the banana leaf to the cows and clean up the eating space but they would continue sitting there to do whatever work they had do, albeit even homework. In contemporary time, a kitchen overlooking the dining and living spaces would mean more space when we entertain, otherwise less family time hogged by the television.

goodearth malar-2It is not that this great open courtyard life was all honky dory, I hated the lack of privacy, the  loud conversations between Grandma and Bhaggi used to the irritating, when the television arrived, I had no place to hide, and now with the mobiles it is a din!!

When it comes to entertaining I rather my guests did not see my dirty sink, and messy kitchen table all of which I can hide if there was a door.

Home floor plans have come a long way, and open floor plans I guess again depends on our lifestyle and priority, or maybe children growing up with open floor plans will turn out intrinsically learn to keep their space tidy and organized.

What is interesting is mobile technology and Knowledge work is allowing for the emergence of open plan-offices. There mixes of cubicles, workstations, private offices and co-workspaces and god knows what, our familiar jargon of Jagli and pasale is replaced by terms like Hoteling , alternate officing and Hotdesking.

images courtesy Google images.

 

 

Putting my home in a backpack?

clutter.jpg
image courtesy Google

Somewhere there has been the invasion of my physical space, the space that I call home it is as if, souls that are not at rest, the dark forces have made their home and my entire house is sagging by their weight. Then disaster struck, the painters came calling. When we had to pull the house around for the walls to be painted. I realized the junk we had collected. It was time to let go.

Yet letting has been such a power struggle. The thinks that I know need to go, but when my husband Mr.D says it becomes this huge boogie man who is there to play the power game.  And most of the clutter was nothing but physical manifestation of unmade decisions, the article I cut out in 1979, the recipe that I noted in 1978, I mean the prints faded they are no more relevant. Somewhere they are fuelled by procrastination.

The toughest thing to face has been, when it’s my time to go this has to stay behind the best thing then to do is to pack light. When people have moved on, and they are no more in our space, maybe it’s time to let their things go too. The wooden rack that Kittdoddamma gave me is not really needed, I cling and each time I have to clean it I cringe, not a pleasant way to remember a lovely woman. When Maya asked me if she could have the rack since I was not using it, and she needed it, very reluctantly I gave it away, it was then that I realized letting go didn’t mean I do not care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person I really have control is over me. Letting go just release the weight that was attached to my ankles.

CHAOS (2)
got to go

Maybe it’s the same about anything that has over stayed its welcome in any space. We are secure in the pond that we are, and change even it means cleaning up or organizing is scary. But unless one ventures out, the ocean, sea, will all be the mysterious boogie man. Holding on to something just because it is good for me, for now could be the very reason why I do not have something better…

Our surgery professor, Dr.Divaker Shenoy used to tell us, we are told that holding on, and hanging on are signs of great strength, but there are times when it takes more strength to know when to let go and then just amputate, you never know, you might learn to live without the limb or regenerate a new limb. Though it did sound stupid then, the logic does make sense.

CHAOS (3)
The big boogiebag.

Throwing that junk away, has made my house lighter, and definitely more aesthetic. How true the beautiful journey of today can only begin if we can learn to let go of yesterday. Maybe that’s what it’s all about, the winter the shivaratri, about learning from trees, who are experts letting to, that makes them so incredibly honest, throwing all those stored paper cuttings, and letters, somehow made me realize that key to worthiness was not in those paper cuttings or the crockery on my shelf, it was as if I could suddenly pick up my suitcase of pride, and board a flight to freedom…. this I know is my Shambala… find yours.

We all accumulate things we do not need to keep, as these are the soveneers of the past, but they are also obstructions in the way of our future. Many times we have clung on to many are useless and meaningless things these tend to pile up, and take up space in life. Letting go of this is scary… here’s what I did, I went into a meditative phase with self hypnosis and gave myself this suggestion

CHAOS (1)
To Keep or not to keep 

With less clutter, I will be able to focus more on what I really need and want in my life, I will be freeing space in mind and my life just like freeing space on the hard drive of a computer, valuable space can be used for what is important in life. I can imagine my life streamlined and clear with space around me and more time. I am now moving on and progressing. I have lost nothing because I have all my memories still in my mind, I can remember whenever I want to without having clutter around. I am more effective, productive and hence am able to progress in the direction that I want, to.

I remember reading a book long ago, that said, don’t keep the things you need to take and then decide the bag, decide the bag and then put the things in. preferably choose a backpack. Thats what I plan to do with my house.declutter 2

Coming back to the mundane true happiness for all, are the 3D’s

  • Declutter
  • Donate
  • Deduct– save money by claiming donation on your tax returns.

 

creating a serene home to invite comfort.

I am listening to my friend’s to client she is detailing her plans for carpets, curtains, she had images of bedspread material she had hung over a chair to see if she could live with it.  i wondered about her partner, and if she had done the same with him/her, drape the person over a chair for a statutory length of time, to see if she could live with him/her.  Looking at her partner, definitely male, she might have noticed that he did not really go with the surrounding she created. Or perhaps she did and knew that he would elegant fade to match.

Nasty thoughts asides, my friend says, homes are healing spaces, and if they do not heal then one needs to really take note of why it does not heal.  Here is sharing what I learnt from her,

Home is our oasis. So efforts have to be made to make it a welcoming sanctuary. An organized and comfortable home gives a clam effect, as well shelter from the chaos and clutter outside that is waiting to attack. According to my friend creating this nurturing space is not really difficult. Small changes according to her go a long way.

The most important thing according to her, is balancing the five senses, she was mentioning how some houses reek of the asafoetida seasoning that was used, while some had smelt of sweat.

Same with decor, some houses were stuffed with clutter, and sometimes ornate antiques are quite irritating too. That I could empathize with, there was a time when I was totally into ethnic chic and wanted to have a house in that format, now suddenly I am more comfortable with clean lines and minimalistic furniture.

Of course being an interior decorator she talks of soft lighting, soothing colours, like blue, purple and green that could make the space warm and inviting.  She was also talking of aromas. This is something that really gets me, to me the disinfectant odour is home. Yet I know for a while when oriflame had lavender night creams, and lavender fabric fragrance I really used to love.

My friend reckoned the sounds like wind chimes, running water cleanses the space too. Well, well, I guess it is time to pull out my flylady manual and start cleaning my act.

Home is the destination, for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it is time to create homes and not living spaces. The changes we make to our home are as unique as we are and lighting, furniture, fengshui or any ritual just help. It is about setting an intention to make our home comfortable, and nurturing.

Home that allows us to connect with our inner self, the external sactuary allows us axis to the beautiful sanctuary within us , a place of total calm, a connect to stillness, a temple of sacredness, peace, beauty , love and once we find this inner place, your true home, we can be at home anywhere, at anytime with anyone. This is a place where INFINITE possibilities exists.

My Den

living room courtesy Godrej-interio
My Den- courtesy Godrej -interio

I would like my house to be unique to me. sure, I’ve bought plenty of things out of the local ferry sale, or picked up second hand furniture from my grandmother, but the way I put them together in my home is special.  I mean we might buy a sofa at major decorating store, but the rug we pick up at the bylanes of jumaritalyya is also unique, it the room from carbon copy, or a sorry wannabe, to simply mine in no time.

I haven’t  had time to do all the things that I should be doing like running dieting and decorating my house, buying the furniture that I would love, or the dishwasher that I need.

Home-office space image courtesy google
Home-office space image courtesy google

But if a fairy godmother were to tell me I hereby grant you the power to redecorate probably this is what I would do

most important place in my entire house, would be my corner, my refuge, I would like to call it the SHE-SHED or SHEAVEN that is a compound word for SHE-HEAVEN. That would be books, greenery, study table, recline chair, and a sliding door to shut myself from the rest of the world. What I am looking at is a room that overlooks greenery so one wall is glass instead of brink. The other wall is sliding door like a shutter I mean it goes up, so that I can let people in or choose my space.

Interesting study table, courtesy godrej-interio
Interesting study table, courtesy godrej-interio

Why a pull down shutter, well that economizes on space, doors do take up space you know.

If possible I would have a area where I have pictures of my daughters. And on the right corner of the wall that has the glass, i would place a Buddha and my prayer bowl in front of it. On either side would be Himalayan rock salt.

Right outside the glass would be potted plants, I cannot think of names, but not roses or jasmine. The walls and furnishing is definitely lilac. And draperies well I doubt if I would need it, if I do, like the furnishing it would be Lavender.

fragrances by godrej-interio
fragrances by godrej-interio

Yes I would use a room fresheners maybe lavender fragrance if available.

Actually I would use lavender aromatherapy oil to mop my floors too.

Yes, my moonstone would be my worktable,

godrej e
living room by Godrej-interio

When I was newly married I wanted to have a very Indian looking living room at low cost, then I had cane furniture, and curtains made of Ikal cotton saris, the pallu cut up to make cushion cover, the packing boxes doubling as coffee, tables, or a casual sitting space, a wicker basket for news paper etc.

Those days I  was being unconventional, my sense of decor did not fit, the Bombay or to be less nasty Urban-middle class decor.

Eventually my kids came along, my practise picked up and I let myself and my house go.

Now that my kids are out, I realize that i was so busy with the mama track that my house has gone seeded, somewhere deep hidden where some images, that my father had partially allowed me to indulge in, the ethnic chic no more entices, now i am looking at ergonomic, clutter free decor.

My walls then were light yellow, commonly called “Gopi” curtains were off white and I had done some fabric painting on it. Thinking back it must have been pretty clumsy and very wannabe rustic,

Living room

Bedroom concepts by Godrej interio
Bedroom concepts by Godrej interio

Activities conducted here

  • Entertaining guests,
  • Watching television

The ambience that I am looking at is rather formal. Colours would probably be white,  convenient for guests to place their coffee, and easy to clean for guests who turn with unruly kids…so probably I central carpet area with a water body and floating flowers, furniture set along the walls.

modular kitchen- Godrej Interio
modular kitchen- Godrej Interio

About Dining area, actually I was wondering if we could have a sit down dining space, so that I could put the television in the eating area.  Of course the refrigerator, and microwave would be here. colours that I am looking at here are warm shades of pink, and side table on which I can story crockery, cutlery and accompaniments for a meal.

The Bed room should be a rest and rejuvenating place, so soothing shades of lavender, or lilac. With curtains that is just a shade darker than the walls. on the wall right opposite as open my eyes, I would place the image of maitreyi Buddha   so that I could begin my day with a blessing. And close my eye with gratitude.For the concept of Godrej interio I am willing to sacrifice the lilac-lavender for the brown-orange.

godrej logo
“I am participating in the Upload and Transform #HomeCanvas activity in association with Godrej Interio and BlogAdda. If you are not blogging, you can still be a part of this activity. Here’s how”

The kitchen— gone is the fascination I had for the jars and Horlicks bottles, I just want minimal stuff now. No more does the country kitchen look excite me, with its herbs, and onions hanging from the peg. Now I am looking at clean efficient modular kitchen, that accommodates my washing machine and dishwasher, and of course the Spider’s widow plant to inhale the toxin from the cooking gas. Maybe if i can I would have a small potted version of kharipatta leaves, ginger and maybe chilli, of course one corner where I do get plenty of sunlight I would have a potted lemon tree. The only wall decor I would opt for is the idol of Annapurneshwari.

Know what I just realized by reshaping or decorating my outer space I am expressing my inner sense of self, “I like that ” becomes,”I am like that.”

From a rebel trying to find her identity, I have become establishment.

Fa diz th’ grottie linen?

Who does the dirty linen?   I have a dirty battered superwoman cape for the cleaners.

It’s better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week.

Laurence J. Peter

Have you been handed the superwoman cape, mine is kind of battered yet it is very much there. my weekly chore list was something like this,

  1. Clean kitchen
  2. Clean bathroom
  3. Clean rest of the domicile,

Eventually  my cape has kind of beginning to go fray, and have become cleaning impaired so the list goes like “don’t get peanut butter on the sheets.”

The great golden life in every woman’s life was having kids, but it did not really fix me I did not somehow become more whole expect in size less botched up, or more certain just because I had a kid… I am still me with all my frayed ends ,problems and question its just that i got more exhausted and had of course have more laundry to do.

Of course laundry to do is not like my pre-washing machine days. All I have to do is to sort out the laundry and put it in. yet I really feel oppressed.

Maybe there was a generation today in their seventies who thought household chores were the primary responsibilities of  the woman.

But in my own space I am truly confused. In the environment that I was brought up house work the domain of lady of the house. when I got married and my husband did the grocery shoping as it was enroute I took it as a slight.  Then some stage I felt very self righteous, ”oh! If he thinks i cannot do it, then its trip.”

Sometimes my husband does do the dishes, or cooks, I found that difficult to handle too .

If I were to be honest, it was like this is my domain, I would actually perceive any assistance as trying to undermine my power, or still worse bring forth my incompetence. … get the point my incompetence… somewhere I felt incompetent. This goes for many of us from my generation.

It has taken me long to accept my husband as my partner. I still take charge of the cooking , cleaning and cribbing. I am now more rationale about division of labour. Every one is good at something, so delegating chores is easy. My husband is great when it comes shopping and cleaning the bathrooms so I leave it him. But Laundry no way he somehow does not seem to figure out which material could run colour and which are the ones that need to be washed by hand.

I like to think we in our late forties or early fifties have a done a better job of bringing our kids up, the boys are quite comfortable doing the laundry or cooking, while girls are quite okay with leaving them to it. there are no guilt trips or prototype of gender chores.  Between you and me let me share a secret that Sheryl Sandberg share with me and all her readers..It turns out that a husband who does the laundry, it’s very romantic when you’re older. And it’s hard to believe when you’re younger. But it’s absolutely true.

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